With my 2014 goals of a bar muscle up by April; and 3 unassisted pistols on each leg by June 1, I’ve been thinking about ways to modify my training. Coach Rachel has  been consulting with me and we’ve been formulating a plan to substitute exercises that will help me improve.

We’ve agreed that on any day where the assigned skill work is a lift, I’m going to substitute in exercises or drills related to one of my two main goals. That creates a window of about 10 minutes or so each day that I can experiment and focus on my own initiatives. On days where the assigned skill is an exercise related to one of goals, I’ll stick with what’s programmed. No matter what, I’ll do the assigned strength work and METCONs all the time.

I’m very satisfied and eager to execute this for a bunch of reasons. I appreciate the courtesy and the latitude the coaches are affording me to modify the training to chase a couple of my own goals. At the same time, by only modifying the skills section and on limited days at that, I’ll still be doing 2/3rds or more of the assigned workouts each day. That’s important to me.

First and foremost, I still need to get stronger in just about every aspect, so for the most part I need to stick with what’s been working. I still need to be better all around. Equally important though, the gym is a very social place for me. It may seem contradictory to say I want the independence to tackle these goals,  but I really don’t want to be off in a corner completely doing my own thing. The trick is I’m not wired that way. I won’t succeed.

I joined Crossfit Durham when my personal fitness stagnated when I could no longer self-motivate. I know myself well enough to know that at some level I need to be doing what the other kids are doing in order to feel included and to stay focused on the big picture.

The nice part about utilizing the skills portion of the WOD this way means that I can be sure to have about 10 minutes every day to focus on the exercises themselves or components of them, but when the coach on any given day starts a METCON and says, “3-2-1-GO” I’ll still be throwing down with my friends. That’s very important to me.

This strategy also overcomes a significant hurdle of timing. Working out with the 6:15 am crew and being partially responsible for ensuring the rest of the family gets out the door on time to work/school each weekday morning means there’s no extra time before or after a WOD for accessory work. So this strategy is about the most efficient one we could work up.

Being able to focus on these specific goals will be a lot of fun. So I’m excited to see how this pans out. It’s already been an education to work through Carl Paoli’s Pistol Progression videos and get a better assessment for where my strengths and weaknesses are for that movement. I look forward to seeing where this particular path leads.